How to Pray

How to Pray for Bibleless People

Pray for the Message

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. — John 1:1 (NLT)

  • Pray that the last languages of the world would receive the Scriptures in whatever form they need it. Dare to ask God for big things! Ask him to provide every person in the world with his Word — just as he has already provided it for us — written and in the heart language!
  • Pray that the integrity of God’s Word would be maintained as it is translated. Pray for quality translations that speak meaningfully to the hearts of Bibleless people.

Pray for the People

His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. … — Acts 17:27 (NLT)

  • Pray for the safety of Bibleless people. Many are residents in, or displaced from, countries with poor political and social conditions.
  • Pray that Bibleless people would be well ministered to by the cooperative efforts of local churches and mission agencies.
  • Pray that Bibleless people would hunger and thirst for God’s Word in their heart language.
  • Pray that Bibleless people would use the Scripture once it is translated. Pray that lives would be transformed by the power of the gospel.

Pray for Personnel

So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields. — Matthew 9:38 (NLT)

Language Workers

  • Pray for more language workers to be called, trained and sent.
  • Pray that translation needs would clearly be identified through quality survey work.
  • Pray that language workers would help develop writing systems for unwritten languages.

Support Workers

  • Pray for more children’s education personnel (like teachers, administrators and librarians).
  • Pray for community development specialists as they help provide safe, effective and economical transportation.
  • Pray for technology workers who provide computer, email, radio and satellite phone support.
  • Pray for communication specialists (like writers, artists and printers) as they inform prayer and financial partners about ongoing needs and the progress of translation work.
  • Ask God to help construction, maintenance and management personnel as they develop and maintain translation support centers around the world.
  • Pray for purchasing and shipping staff as they keep much-needed supplies flowing.

Pray for the Completion of the Task to the Glory of God

Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. — Philippians 2:16 (NLT)

  • Pray for perseverance. Pray that those involved in the Bible translation task would not grow weary or give up before the work is complete.

How to Pray for Missionaries

Pray for Open Doors

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. — Colossians 4:2–3 (NIV)

Open doors can’t be taken for granted. Many missionaries work in countries that are difficult to access or in areas that are resistant to the gospel. But “open doors” include more than just access to nations and people groups. Individuals’ hearts also need to be open and receptive to God’s truth.

  • Pray that God will open doors of ministry, blessing partnerships and friendships.
  • Pray that those who serve will be led by the Holy Spirit and recognize open-door opportunities.
  • Pray that God will lead His people past barriers to hearts ready to receive his Word.

Pray for Boldness in Witness

Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel. — Ephesians 6:19 (NIV)

Missionaries are regular people who fear pain and rejection as much as anyone else. When faced with opposition, they need God’s strength to help them stand firm.

  • Pray that missionaries will have boldness to overcome the fear of embarrassment or failure.
  • Pray that the Spirit will provide them with words that communicate effectively in other cultures and languages.
  • Pray against evil forces that would seek to hinder the spread of the gospel.

Pray that God’s Word Will Spread

Finally, dear brothers and sisters, I ask you to pray for us. Pray that the Lord’s message will spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes ... . — 2 Thessalonians 3:1 (NLT)

Obstacles must be removed to allow God’s Word to spread rapidly and freely. Removing obstacles implies resolute resistance in spiritual warfare. Just as Aaron and Hur supported Moses’ arms in the battle against the Amalekites (Exodus 17:12), you can strengthen the arms of missionaries through your prayers. 

  • Pray for strength and stamina as missionaries encounter antagonistic spiritual forces (Ephesians 6:10–18).
  • Pray that people will resist Satan’s plans to obstruct the spread of the gospel (James 4:7).
  • Pray that God’s Word will indeed spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes.

Pray for Protection

Pray, too, that we will be saved from wicked and evil people, for not everyone believes in the Lord. — 2 Thessalonians 3:2 (NLT) 

In some countries, open doors may expose missionaries to the possibility of danger and personal harm. Opposition to the gospel may include hatred and violence.

  • Pray that God will keep Christian workers safe from those who seek to hurt them.
  • Pray that God will change the hearts of those who are resistant to his Word.

Pray for Their Ministry

Pray that the Lord's message will spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes, just as when it came to you. — 2 Thessalonians 3:1b (NLT)

Cooperation and partnership are essential to ministry and vital to the progress of the work.

  • Pray that the missionary’s ministry and attitude will be worthy of acceptance.
  • Pray that colleagues and fellow believers will be supportive.

Pray for God’s Guidance

So we have continued praying for you ever since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what he wants to do in your lives, and we ask him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom. — Colossians 1:9 (NLT)

Many missionaries travel frequently, both nationally and internationally. Their mode of transportation varies from country to country and often involves stressful situations.

  • Pray for clear guidance from God regarding travel decisions.
  • Pray for necessary permissions to travel.
  • Pray for protection and provision during their travels.

Pray for Refreshment

We also pray that you will be strengthened with his glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need. May you be filled with joy. — Colossians 1:11 (NLT)

Missionaries deal with many of the same stresses you face in life such as overwhelming workloads, relational conflicts and financial uncertainties. Often, however, missionaries struggle with these issues alone, without the fellowship and support of other Christians. Living and working cross-culturally adds an additional element that can challenge their emotional, spiritual and physical vitality.

  • Pray that God will provide opportunities for missionaries in lonely areas to spend time with other believers.
  • Pray that God will provide times of peace and relaxation to refresh his workers.
  • Pray that God will encourage missionaries with the knowledge that people back home care about their emotional well-being.

Partners in prayer

The apostle Paul was a missionary and a man of prayer. He prayed for those without Christ, for the believers, and for the new churches established under his ministry. He also asked the believers to pray for him:

Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit. — Romans 15:30 (NLT)

Paul knew prayer would bring results:

He will rescue us because you are helping by praying for us. As a result, many will give thanks to God because so many people’s prayers for our safety have been answered. — 2 Corinthians 1:11 (NLT)

In his letters, Paul gave specific prayer requests for which believers should pray. As a prayer partner with those who are called to go, you too will have an impact that can reach around the world. Paul’s prayer requests can serve as a tool for praying with effectiveness and understanding.